Executive Director of UNICEF

Latest: The UN Secretary-General reappointed Anthony Lake for a second 5 year team as the Executive Director of UNICEF. Prior to his role at UNICF, Anthony Lake served in various roles for the US Government, including as national security adviser from 1993-1997. He has also served as the president’s special envoy in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Haiti.

Role: UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to “advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children.” (source:UNICEF) The Executive Director oversees an annual budget of more than $3 billion, and manages a staff of 10,000 in more than 150 countries. The Executive Director has managerial and strategic responsibility for the organisation, and reports to the Executive Board.

How? The organisation’s founding charter, from 1946, simply states that “the Secretary-General of the UN shall appoint the Executive Director in consultation with the Executive Board.” There are no other requirements or directives regarding the appointment, although since UNICEF's establishment in 1947, all chief executives have been American.

Action: Previously, CRIN encouraged children's rights advocates to sign a letter to the UN Secretary General urging him to conduct an open and transparent appointment process.